BEST FOR BALANCE TRANSFER BEGINNERS

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening
Regular APR
16.74% - 28.74% Variable APR
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for no late fee

Citi Simplicity® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 28.49% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

BEST FOR ROTATING CATEGORY CASH BACK

Discover it® Balance Transfer

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% for 18 months
Purchase intro APR
0% for 6 months
Regular APR
15.74% - 26.74% Variable
Rewards rate
1%–5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for Excellent credit

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 months 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 12 months on Purchases
Regular APR
16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

BEST FOR FINANCING PURCHASES

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Apply now
On U.S. Bank's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases
Regular APR
18.24% - 28.24% (Variable)
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for 2% cash rewards

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Apply now
On Wells Fargo's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Regular APR
18.74%, 23.74%, or 28.74% Variable APR
Rewards rate
2%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for No penalty APR

BankAmericard® credit card

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
21 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 21 billing cycles on BTs made 1st 60 days. 3% fee, min $10. Then 15.74-25.74% Var. APR
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 21 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
N/A
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for good credit

Citi® Double Cash Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 months 0% intro for 18 months on Balance Transfers
Purchase intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
2%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for automatic bonus category

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
15 months 0% for 15 months on balance transfers
Purchase intro APR
0% for 15 months on purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1%–5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)
Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles on BTs made 1st 60 days. 3% fee, min $10. Then 17.74-27.74% Var. APR
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
1.5%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Best for flexible rewards categories

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

Apply now
On Bank of America's secure site
Balance transfer intro APR
18 billing cycles 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles on BTs made 1st 60 days. 3% fee, min $10. Then 17.74-27.74% Var. APR
Purchase intro APR
0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases
Regular APR
17.74% - 27.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Rewards rate
1%–3%
Recommended credit
Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

Compare Bankrate’s best 0% balance transfer credit cards

Card name Bankrate’s pick for Balance transfer intro APR period Regular APR Bankrate review score
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Balance transfer beginners Up to 21 months

16.74% % to 28.74% variable 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Simplicity Card No late fee 21 months 17.74% to 28.49% variable 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Balance Transfer Rotating category cash back 18 months 15.74% to 26.74% variable 4.7 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Diamond Preferred Card Excellent credit 21 months 16.74% to 27.49% variable 4.0/ 5
(Read full card review)
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Financing purchases 18 billing cycles

18.24% to 28.24% (variable) 3.6 / 5
(Read full card review)
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card 2% cash rewards 15 months 18.74%, 23.74%, or 28.74% variable 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
BankAmericard credit card Longest intro APR 21 billing cycles

15.74% to 25.74% variable 5.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Double Cash Card Good credit 18 months 17.74% to 27.74% variable 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Custom Cash Card Automatic bonus category 15 months 17.74% to 27.74% variable 4.4 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card Unlimited 1.5% cash back 18 billing cycles

17.74% to 27.74% variable 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card Flexible rewards categories 18 billing cycles

17.74% to 27.74% variable 4.3 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at Bankrate’s top 0% balance transfer cards

Wells Fargo Reflect Card: Best for balance transfer beginners

  • What we love about the Wells Fargo Reflect Card: We consider this card a prime pick for people in the market for a balance transfer credit card, as its potentially low regular APR rate and intro APR offer is top-notch and among the longest promotional APR offers currently available.
  • Who this card is good for: Balance transfer newbies will appreciate this card’s user-friendly features, including its lengthy introductory APR period as well as its longer-than-usual 120-day window to initiate transfers. Balance transfers made within the first 120 days of membership qualify for the intro rate and 3 percent fee (minimum $5). Thereafter, the balance transfer fee goes up to 5 percent (or minimum $5).
  • Alternatives: The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is ideal for anyone ready to forego a longer introductory APR period on balance transfers in exchange for the opportunity to receive cash back rewards.

Learn more: Is the Wells Fargo Reflect Card worth it?
Read our full Wells Fargo Reflect Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Simplicity Card: Best for no late fee

  • What we love about the Citi Simplicity Card: The Citi Simplicity charges no penalty APRs or late fees for missed payments, making it a very friendly card for people struggling to pay off credit card debt.
  • Who this card is good for: People who need something simple, flexible and easy to use and want to temporarily avoid interest on a balance transfer for an extended period without having to pay late fees or annual fees.
  • Alternatives: The Simplicity card does not have any rewards, so it is not a great choice for those who love earning cash back or points from their credit cards. Suppose you’re more interested in a cash back rewards card for everyday use rather than just using the card for paying off a balance transfer. In that case, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could provide better long-term value than the Citi Simplicity Card.

Learn more: Is the Citi Simplicity worth it?
Read our full Citi Simplicity Card review or jump back to offer details.

Discover it Balance Transfer: Best for rotating category cash back

  • What we love about the Discover it Balance Transfer Card: The card is decidedly well-rounded with competitive base rewards as well as a generous welcome offer with Cashback Match (all cash back earned in the first year will be matched at the end of it) and 0 percent intro APR offer on balance transfers for 18 months (14.99 percent to 25.99 percent variable APR thereafter).
  • Who this card is good for: Someone who needs to pay down existing credit card debt in the short term but wants to earn rewards for the long term.
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a low-maintenance rewards program, a flat-rate rewards card such as Wells Fargo Active Cash Card could help you better maximize your spending while paying down your balance transfer.

Learn more: Is the Discover it Balance Transfer card worth it?
Read our full Discover it Balance Transfer review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card: Best for excellent credit

  • What we love about the Citi Diamond Preferred Card: The Citi Flex Loans feature provides an opportunity to borrow money against your Citi card credit limit at a fixed rate (although it’s not available to all cardholders). This can be particularly useful if you want to pay off multiple loans or credit card balances, or if you have a big purchase coming up and want to pay for it using your credit card.
  • Who this card is good for: Someone interested in a simple but effective method of temporarily avoiding interest on a balance transfer or purchase, as it offers a 0 percent intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases with no annual fee (16.74 percent to 27.49 percent variable APR thereafter).
  • Alternatives: The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is ideal for anybody looking for additional benefits, rewards programs or premium perks, since the Diamond Preferred Card has little long-term value outside of its potentially low ongoing APR.

Learn more: Why expert Andy Shuman loves the Citi Diamond Preferred Card.
Read our full Citi Diamond Preferred Card review or jump back to offer details.

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: Best for financing purchases

  • What we love about the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card: Even after your intro APR period ends, this card gives you a chance to pay off purchases over time at a low cost. Thanks to the U.S. Bank ExtendPay Plan, you can divide eligible large purchases into fixed monthly installments and chip away at charges at a fixed monthly fee, instead of paying at the card’s regular APR.
  • Who this card is good for: People who need to pay off debt and may need to finance new large purchases even after their intro APR period ends.
  • Alternatives: Since this card doesn’t earn any ongoing rewards, it may not offer much value after its intro APR period ends. Unless you need a full 18 billing cycles to pay off your debt, consider the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card instead. You can still tackle debt with its 0 percent intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers (after which a 18.74 percent, 23.74 percent, or 28.74 percent variable APR applies), but you’ll also enjoy a best-in-class flat rewards rate of 2 percent cash rewards on purchases.

Learn more: Is the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card worth it?
Read our full U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card review or jump back to offer details.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for 2% cash rewards

  • What we love about the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: It comes with a generous cash back rewards rate and 15-month 0 percent introductory APR offer on qualifying balance transfers from account opening (18.74 percent, 23.74 percent or 28.74 percent variable APR thereafter). Cards that earn unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases are rare, but a card that also has an introductory APR offer is rarer still.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone looking for a card with both an intro APR offer for qualifying balance transfers and purchases from account opening, as well as an exceptional cash rewards program.
  • Alternatives: For people who want to make the length of the introductory offer the top priority, the Wells Fargo Reflect Card would provide a longer introductory period on balance transfers than the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Learn more: Is the Wells Fargo Active Cash worth it?
Read our full Wells Fargo Active Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

BankAmericard credit card: Best for longest intro APR

  • What we love about the BankAmericard Credit Card: This card boasts one of the market’s longest promotional offers for purchases and balance transfers, which can save you money on interest and help you pay off your balance faster. Plus, it has no annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about spending money on that while you work to pay down debt and build credit.
  • Who this card is good for: Someone who wants the assurance of a lengthy introductory offer on balance transfers without the prospect of an annual fee or penalty APR looming over them, but doesn’t want to take on any new debt.
  • Alternatives: The Citi Simplicity Card is a similar balance transfer card option that may be the ideal solution for anybody looking to avoid an annual fee, penalty APR, and late penalties altogether, unlike with the BankAmericard, which has a late payment fee.

Learn more: Why expert Margaret Wack loves the BankAmericard.
Read our full BankAmericard credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Double Cash Card: Best for good credit

  • What we love about the Citi Double Cash Card: With the Citi Double Cash, you’ll get an 18-month 0 percent introductory APR offer on balance transfers as well as earn 1 percent cash back on every purchase and another 1 percent (2 percent total) when you pay off those purchases — allowing you get double the rewards. After the intro APR offer, the variable APR will be 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants a card with lengthy introductory offers on balance transfers plus a cash back program. It’s also great for people who want to earn rewards on their spending and not have to worry about spending caps or other restrictions.
  • Alternatives: The Double Cash currently doesn’t offer an introductory APR offer on new purchases, so shoppers looking for a temporary break from interest on purchases along with balance transfers may find the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card to be a better fit.

Learn more: Why expert Holly Johnson loves the Citi Double Cash Card.
Read our full Citi Double Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for automatic bonus category

  • What we love about the Citi Custom Cash Card: It has a decent intro APR period (0 percent intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers completed within the first four months of account opening; 17.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable APR thereafter) and the opportunity to maximize rewards. Some bonus-rate cards involve rotating categories that you’re required to activate every quarter, but with this card, your top spending category becomes your bonus category each billing cycle.
  • Who this card is good for: Anyone who wants a balance transfer credit card that also earns bonus rate cash back — automatically, in any of 10 eligible categories — based on their spending each billing cycle (up to the maximum spend each billing cycle).
  • Alternatives: People concerned about paying a balance transfer fee higher than the typical 3 percent may be interested in the BankAmericard credit card, as it notably has a low balance transfer fee and one of the longest intro APR periods.

Learn more: Why your Citi Custom Cash card could be great for travel
Read our full Citi Custom Cash Card review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card: Best for unlimited 1.5% cash back

  • What we love about the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards Card: The 18-billing cycle 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers (17.74% – 27.74% variable APR thereafter) and boosted rewards rate makes this card a no-brainer. Bank of America Preferred Rewards members earn 25 percent to 75 percent more cash back (based on your enrollment tier), meaning members could earn a maximum of up to 2.62 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • Who this card is good for: People who want a balance transfer card with unlimited, uncomplicated cash back that never expires.
  • Alternatives: Cash back maximizers who don’t mind keeping track of a few bonus categories to earn a higher rewards rate while paying down a balance may find more value with the Discover it® Cash Back.

Learn more: Compare Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards vs. BankAmericard.
Read our full Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card review or jump back to offer details.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Best for flexible rewards categories

  • What we love about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card: Its 18-billing cycle 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers (17.74% – 27.74% variable APR thereafter) and cash back potential, as not many cards offer the opportunity to choose your preferred rewards category. The Customized Cash Rewards card lets you pick your highest earning in one of six categories — travel, gas, dining, online shopping, drug stores or home improvement and furnishings — and your next tier of earnings are on grocery store and wholesale club purchases.
  • Who this card is good for: Frequent shoppers who want to match their spending habits with cash back categories without affecting their responsible use of the introductory offer on purchases and qualifying balance transfers.
  • Alternatives: People who just want to take advantage of an introductory APR offer on balance transfers and have less interest in pursuing rewards may want to consider the Citi Diamond Preferred Card instead.

Learn more: Bank of America Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards vs. Amex Blue Business Cash
Read our full Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card review or jump back to offer details.


What is a 0% balance transfer credit card?

A balance transfer credit card can help you pay off your debt by transferring existing card balances to a new credit card with a 0 percent intro APR period. During that time, you have the chance to pay off the principal without paying interest. When the intro APR period ends, interest will apply to any remaining balance at the end of each billing cycle like a regular credit card.

Want to learn more? Read our full guide on how balance transfer credit cards work.

What is a balance transfer fee?

A balance transfer fee compensates a lender for taking the risk of issuing a temporary interest-free loan. The typical fee is 3 or 5 percent of the balance being transferred and is always at least $5 or $10.

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In the News
According to industry expert Ted Rossman, balance transfer offers have gotten even more generous in recent months, despite the Federal Reserve’s series of interest rate hikes. Read the full story on how balance transfer competition is heating up and learn how to take advantage of these offers.

How long does a balance transfer take?

The amount of time it takes for the balance to transfer from one credit card to another will vary by issuer. Some credit card companies may take up to six weeks to complete balance transfers, while others may take as little as two days. You will typically receive an estimated turnaround time from your card provider in advance.

Also, if your new card issuer approves your balance transfer request, it must coordinate the transfer with your current card issuer, which could cause potential delays.

How much money could you save with a 0% balance transfer?

A 0 percent intro offer could save you several hundred dollars or more if you’re paying down a large balance.

Experian’s 2021 State of Credit report shows that the average credit card balance reached $5,525. Here’s how much you could save by transferring a credit card balance of $5,525 to one of our best balance transfer credit cards, based on the following conditions:

  • You would pay the balance transfer fee upfront and pay off the $5,525 balance within the intro offer period.
  • Potential savings with each card are calculated by comparing how much interest you would pay on your current card at 20 percent APR (using our Credit Card Payoff Calculator), minus the balance transfer fee.

Example savings by credit cards with the highest savings potential

Card Name Balance transfer intro offer period Regular APR Balance transfer fee Potential savings minus transfer fee
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments during the intro period) 16.74%–28.74% variable $165.75 (3%)

$902.25

Citi Simplicity Card 21 months 17.74%–28.49% variable $165.75 (3%) $902.25
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 21 months 16.74%– 27.49% variable $276.25 (5%) $791.75
Discover it Balance Transfer 18 months 15.74%–26.74% variable $165.75 (3%)

$749.25
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Bankrate insight
What’s the difference in cost between a 2 percent and 3 percent balance transfer fee? On a $5,000 balance, a 2 percent fee would be $100 and a 3 percent fee would be $150. The difference in cost is even more pronounced with a 5 percent balance transfer fee: $250.

Pros and cons of 0% balance transfer credit cards

Pros

  • Save money: You could save money on interest payments by temporarily avoiding interest on transferred debt.
  • Improve credit utilization ratio: Debt reduction can increase your credit utilization ratio over time, which means you’re utilizing less of your available credit.
  • Reduce monthly payments: The temporary break from interest on your transferred balance could translate to a lower monthly payment.
  • Consolidate debts: If you have multiple cards with high balances, you can simplify your debt payment process by consolidating the debt onto one card.

Cons

  • High credit approval threshold: The best offers with the longest 0 percent APR terms tend to be available to people with good or excellent credit.
  • Interest paid on remaining balance: If you don’t pay off the transfer entirely during the introductory period, the remaining balance will be subject to the new card’s regular APR.
  • Less attractive rewards: The main feature on most balance transfer cards is a lengthy intro APR period, though some cards do offer fairly modest cash back rewards.
  • Limits on transfer amounts: Balance transfer cards may limit the amount that you’re allowed to transfer and it can be difficult to know these limits until you apply for the card.

Who should get a 0% balance transfer credit card?

According to The Federal Reserve, about half of all credit card users carry a month-to-month balance. If you find yourself among this group and your current card has a high interest rate, a balance transfer credit card with an introductory 0 percent APR offer can help you address some key financial issues and save a bit on interest. However, if you have other objectives apart from merely transferring a balance, such as earning rewards, having a longer 0 percent APR period, or preferring a low interest card, these are all important factors to consider when choosing a balance transfer card.

Depending on your specific situation, we propose the following:

Still unsure if a balance transfer credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

How to choose the best 0% balance transfer credit card

The best credit cards for balance transfers share several key features. To choose a balance transfer credit card that fits your unique financial situation, consider the following four questions:

What are your approval odds?

Like any other credit card application, a balance transfer card application will result in either approval or denial. If you’re denied a balance transfer card, you may be concerned about the short-term effects on your credit score. Consider if it’s worth applying and undergoing a hard credit pull if you are unsure of your approval chances.

Learn more: Why Approval Odds are your key to a successful credit card application

Does the card have a long introductory APR offer?

It’s crucial to figure out what kind of APR you’ll face after the introductory period ends. Interest rates vary widely, and knowing exactly what you’re signing up for is helpful. Also, if you plan on carrying a balance on your card after the 0 percent intro APR period, make sure that you calculate what the minimum payment amount will be — as you don’t want to be surprised by unexpected fees or expenses. If you pay off your balance before the end of the 0% intro APR, there’s no harm done, but if you don’t and you’re stuck paying 19.99 percent interest on your balance, for example, you’d be better off applying for a different card with a lower rate.

What are the card’s fees?

To learn more about the card’s fees, the terms and conditions will include details such as the balance transfer fee, late payment penalties, how much time you have to transfer the balance to qualify for the introductory offer and what happens when your 0 percent intro APR period ends. If the card has an annual fee or a balance transfer fee higher than 3 percent, it’s worth considering whether you’d be better off sticking with your current card and making minimum payments until your debt is paid off. Though an annual fee may be worthwhile in return for high rewards rates and access to exclusive cardholder benefits, if your primary goal is to get out of debt then it’s best to avoid rewards or cash back credit cards that may encourage unnecessary spending. Likewise, credit cards with annual fees will reduce the amount of money you could be putting toward repayments.

What are your approval odds?

Like any other credit card application, a balance transfer card application will result in either approval or denial. If you’re denied a balance transfer card, you may be concerned about the short-term effects on your credit score. Consider if it’s worth applying and undergoing a hard credit pull if you are unsure of your approval chances.
Learn more: Why Approval Odds are your key to a successful credit card application

Does the card have long-term value?

Some of the best balance transfer cards offer general benefits to cardholders, such as extended warranties on purchases and identity theft protection services, as well as rewards programs that can help offset interest payments or provide additional discounts or savings on purchases. If you want to use your card for daily purchases like gas or groceries, you may be able to earn points or miles that may be redeemed for gift cards, statement credits or more.

You can search for preapproval options using tools like CardMatch™ by Bankrate and get a glimpse of what you could feasibly be approved for without the consequences of a hard credit pull.

How to do a balance transfer

You don’t have to be an expert in personal finance to understand the balance transfer process. It’s essentially a matter of moving debt from one credit account to another. The main things to know are:

  1. Apply for and open a balance transfer card: As is the case with any credit card option, you’ll first need to apply for a balance transfer card and be approved. Balance transfer cards are most attainable with a good to excellent credit score.
  2. Know how much time you have: Once you’ve applied for and received a balance transfer card, you have a certain period of time in which you can make transfers that qualify for the zero-interest offer.
  3. Initiate the transfer: Most issuers will have a process online or in the mobile app that allows you to make balance transfer requests. You’ll need account and credit card numbers handy to start the process.
  4. Look for confirmation: The issuer of your balance transfer card will notify you when the transfer is completed, but always check your other account(s) and keep making payments on your previous card(s) until it’s done. Timelines for processing balance transfers vary from issuer to issuer. In some cases, it could take 7 to 10 days to complete. In some cases, it could take a couple of weeks — or even as long as a month.
  5. Continue to keep the old card’s account open: In general, it’s ideal to leave older credit card accounts active. That’s because canceling them may lower your credit score and reduce your available credit, giving the impression that your utilization rate, or debt-to-credit ratio, has suddenly increased. It will also support you in increasing the average age of your credit history, which is a key factor in establishing creditworthiness.

Balance transfer guides by credit card issuer

If you want to do a balance transfer with a specific bank or card issuer, Bankrate has detailed guides from the following financial companies:

If you have questions at any point in the process, contact a customer service representative for help. It’s your money, after all, so you’ll want to get everything right.

How to maximize your 0% balance transfer card

  • Try to only use your balance transfer credit card to handle debts. Unless your balance transfer card also has an intro APR offer on purchases, it’s best to use one card to primarily aid in paying down your debts and a different card to handle small purchases that you can pay off immediately (and potentially earn rewards on).
  • Initiate your transfer quickly. Some cards on the market have a window of time within which you must initiate transferring a credit card balance to receive the full benefits of the intro offer.
  • Always pay on time and more than the minimum amount due whenever possible. To expedite paying down debt and take even further advantage of a balance transfer card’s intro APR offer, it’s always a great practice to pay more than the minimum amount due when you can in addition to paying on time, every time.
  • Make a strategic plan to tackle your debt. Understand how much debt you owe, how long you want to take to pay it off and how your balance transfer card can help you manage your debt. As a general rule of thumb, try to make your pay-off timeline match up with the balance transfer card’s intro APR period.

What’s the longest 0% balance transfer offer?

Currently, the longest 0% intro APR offers on the market are up to 21 months, offered by the Wells Fargo Reflect, Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Simplicity cards. Although any temporary break from credit card APR is beneficial, a longer intro offer will give you the best opportunity to avoid interest as you pay off your transferred balance. The chart below shows the top three cards with the longest intro APR offers.

Balance transfer credit card 0% intro APR offer Transfer a balance by December 31, 2022 and avoid regular APR until:
Citi Diamond Preferred Card 21 months (16.74%–27.49% variable after) October 2024
Citi Simplicity Card 21 months (17.74%–28.74% variable after) October 2024
Wells Fargo Reflect Card Up to 21 months (18 months, plus 3 months if you make on-time monthly payments during the intro period, then 16.74%–28.74% variable after) At least July 2024

Alternatives to a balance transfer card

Transferring a credit card balance to a balance transfer card is one of the best ways to pay off debt and save money, but there are other ways to manage your debt that don’t involve a balance transfer card. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Find out if you can qualify for a reduced interest rate: Your credit score may have improved since you opened the account, so requesting a reduced interest rate from your issuer may be beneficial. You might be able to get some points deducted from your rate or have your account transferred to a lower-interest card.
  2. Pay more than the minimum due using a debt repayment calculator: The minimum monthly payment is the absolute least you can pay without penalty — but you won’t get far paying off your debt that way. Using a debt payment calculator, you can figure out how much interest you could save if you paid off your credit card balance without transferring. You need to pay interest on less money to see actual savings, so you can reduce the principal balance by paying more than the minimum.
  3. Take advantage of a personal loan or debt consolidation loan: A personal loan can help you pay off your high-interest debt, but it’s critical to remember that a personal loan only makes sense if the interest rate is lower than the interest on your credit card debt. You can get a loan from a bank, credit union or online lender, and you may even be able to pay your creditors directly with some loans designed for debt consolidation.
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Bankrate insight
If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, your first thought might be to do a balance transfer to take advantage of a 0 percent APR offer, but if you don’t qualify for any of the few balance transfer card offers available right now, there are still plenty of alternative options to consider; ranging from using Affirm or Klarna to pay on small purchases to applying for a personal loan. It’s important to work on improving your credit score before applying for a balance transfer card, so we recommend making the most of any opportunity to pay down debt – whether that’s by applying for a balance transfer card or opting for an alternative option.

Expert take: Balance transfer offers are heating up


How we chose our best balance transfer cards

Bankrate writers and editors have evaluated dozens of options to determine which cards are most likely to help you achieve your financial goals with a balance transfer. In this category, our 5-star scoring system pays particular attention to the essential features of a balance transfer credit card, including:

0% introductory APR offer

Balance transfer cards should ideally have a long 0% APR introductory offer — between 12 and 18 months, if not longer. You’ll have more time to pay off the transferred balance before the regular APR takes effect.

Regular variable APR

Regular variable APR is the interest rate that you will be charged after the introductory 0% APR period. Ideally, the low end of the variable APR range should be at least a few points below 16% with a high end no more than 26%.

Balance transfer fee

The best balance transfer credit cards will charge a low fee on transferred balances, or even no fee at all. If you have an excellent credit score, consider asking to have the fee lowered or waived.

More information on balance transfer credit cards

Want to know more about transferring balances to a credit card? Here’s a list of our top resources from Bankrate’s personal finance experts:


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Frequently asked questions about balance transfer credit cards

about the author
Former Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina.
about the editor
Mariah Ackary is a personal finance editor who joined the Bankrate team in 2019, excited by the opportunity to help people make good financial decisions. Send your questions to mackary@bankrate.com

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